1,500 World Leaders and Experts to Tackle Global Challenges

Global Leaders World Economic Forum WEF DavosGeneva (Switzerland) – September 17, 2014 – A new term begins this week for the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils, which mobilizes some 1,500 globally recognized leaders to volunteer their time and address worldwide, regional and industry challenges.

The Global Agenda Councils make up the world’s largest volunteer network of experts. Every two years the network brings together leaders, pioneers and experts from business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society to provide innovative thinking on critical global issues and incubate projects, events and campaigns for the public good. In the 2014-2016 term, experts will be grouped into 86 councils, each addressing a specific issue. A full list of councils can be found here.

Among those who will be volunteering their time this term are: Valerie Amos, José Manuel Barroso, Carl Bildt, Gordon Brown, Jan Egeland, Al Gore, Aleqa Hammond, Hina Rabbani Khar, Toomas Ilves, Pascal Lamy, Scott Minerd, Kumi Naidoo, Joseph Nye, Surin Pitsuwan, Salil Shetty, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Jonas Gahr Store, and Jaan Tallinn.

In an era marked by short-termism and silo-thinking, these leaders will foster long-range approaches to tackling the world’s prevailing challenges, said Martina Larkin, senior director and head of the Network of Global Agenda Councils. “While national governments and international institutions have struggled to come up with the necessary solutions, the world is not short of intelligent people. Governments, corporations, civil society, academia and international organizations are full of experts who can, when brought together, achieve a critical mass of insight,” she said. “In technology, sustainability and governance, the world is full of ideas – many of them excellent. Unfortunately, the capacity to build consensus and to roll out effective programmes is much rarer.”

Some of the issues that will be addressed this term include:

– Global greenhouse gas emissions
– Sustainable management of the Arctic
– Inclusive and sustainable growth models
– Future skills and employment
– Resilience of monetary and financial systems
– Smart cities
– Post-2015 development goals
– Food and nutrition insecurity
– Artificial intelligence, robotics and smart devices
– Global security in the cyber age
– Conflict and environmental degradation
– Geo-economics
– Human rights and supply chains
– Public/private cooperation in disaster response

Members will gather at the annual Summit on the Global Agenda – the world’s largest brainstorming event – held in collaboration with the Government of the United Arab Emirates. This year’s summit will take place in Dubai on 9-11 November. The insights, ideas and recommendations generated by the councils will be integrated into the Forum’s other activities, such as the Annual Meeting in Davos and regional and industry events.

In the recently completed 2012-2014 term, the councils can count the following achievements:

– The Council on the Future of Government launched a smart toolbox to highlight 30 successful state practices from around the globe in the digital era. These findings were presented to more than 150 government leaders to help them improve trust and deliver more efficient public services through technology.
– The Council on Energy Security was asked by Chinese authorities to contribute to the development of a policy to reform coal-to-electricity pricing. The council helped the authorities set up a long-term mechanism to balance the pricing contradiction between coal mining and electricity generation, to progressively reflect the change in electricity rates and support market-oriented reform.
– The Council on the Intellectual Property System, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization, launched the Pro Bono IP initiative, a legal aid initiative to bring under-resourced inventors in developing nations into their local patent systems by matching them with qualified IP counsel. This is to assist in securing protection for their innovations. The initiative is being piloted in Colombia.
-The Council on Emerging Multinationals created the TEN Youth Programme, which develops innovative models for mentoring young employees, creating quality internships and scaling the number of effective skill-enhancing apprenticeships.
– The Council on Travel and Tourism developed a framework on smart visas, which was integrated into the G20 under the leadership of Mexico. The council has also worked to create regional smart visa agreements.
-The Council on the United States initiated a series of high-level roundtable discussions, presenting its research to members of US Congress at Davos 2014.

About the World Economic Forum:
The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).